What is a reunion registry?

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  • Reunion registries are an excellent tool that can be used to reunite adoptees with birth family. An adoptee or a birth parent can register what information they have, whether it's a little or a lot, and that data is saved while it waits for a match. You should include info such as date of birth, name of the hospital the birth took place at, the delivering doctor and/or the attorney used, as well as any other info you might have. The more information the better. 

    Some adoption registries are done entirely online. You enter your info and someone else can come along and search for it. Other registries are active, meaning you register with them by mail or online and if the other party registers as well, then the employees make contact to reveal the match. Private, non-profit organizations run some of the registries, while others are government run.

    I always recommend that people starting an adoption search start with the registries. The oldest one is the International Soundex Reunion Registry. The others ones I suggest are registry.adoption.com and reunionregistry.org. Most states also have an adoption registry of their own. You should definitely search for the registry in the state your adoption took place in. A reunion registry can be much faster than a DNA test if the person you are looking for has already been there.

    Many people are unaware, but registries can also be used for other things aside from reunion. If a medical situation or diagnosis occurs within the birth family, they can register than info for the adoptee. They can include a contact preference as well. A birth family may want to relay pertinent info, but may not want to have any direct contact. Either way, if you are an adoptee it can be beneficial to you to be on the registries.

  • Answer ✓

    This is an excellent question! I am currently the Post Adoption Administrator for an Adoption Agency that was established in 1895 and I am often contacted after an individual has utilized a very large number of online registries to no avail. Oftentimes, the most underutilized and most successful registries are the Voluntary Registry of the Adoption Agency you placed with or were adopted from and your states Adoption Registry. 

    The rules on Adoption Agencies that have Voluntary Registries vary state by state, but many Adoption Agencies do have their own Post Adoption Services and their own registry. This is often one of the best resources when beginning the search process.

    Your state should have an Adoption Registry. Different states have different names for this type of registry (in Texas it is called the Central Adoption Registry). This is where all the records from Adoption Agencies that have closed are sent. One thing that is unique about this registry is that they request information from the Adoption Agency (if the agency is still open) and the agency is often required by state law to send it within a certain time frame. This is useful in case one person registers with the state, and the other with the Adoption Agency. Another unique aspect to this registry is that in some states, if the other member of the registry is deceased and died in the state of natural causes, the registry will mail you a letter to notify you and will inform you of the cause of death.

    Another thing that many people are unaware of is that birth siblings can also utilize the state and Adoption Agency registries. I have had cases where an individual registered to find a birth parent and first found a birth sibling! 


  • Reunion registries were created to allow for biological families to be reunited after an adoption or foster care situation. Many times, these searches can take years if they are lucky enough to result in a discovery. However, with social media, DNA, and reunion registries becoming more prevalent, it is making reunion all the more possible. 

    Reunion registries are a vital tool in the search for any member of a birth family. Reunion registries have the unique quality of allowing for people to not only search for their loved one, but register their information. Even if the initial search of the registry does not turn up any results, leaving information on the registry allows for future searchers to find your information. 

    For example, a birth mother register her information with the Reunion Registry at Adoption.com. If her adoption is closed and her child one day decides they would like to find their birth mother, a simple search would lead them straight to her. With Adoption.com being the largest adoption website, the chance is high that a search might begin at that registry. 

    Take some time and browse through the registry. You can see how it functions, how to register, and browse thousands of profiles. To understand how immense the registry is, I will note there are over 427,000 profiles on the site to date! The chances of reunion increase daily. 
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